June is often the month of celebration of dads, grads, and weddings, and there’s much to celebrate from our friends at Titan Comics.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
What does Titan Comics have planned to end Summer 2019? To start off, a cameo by an old friend who thinks bow ties are cool in Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #11. As Robotech’s “Event Horizon” arc reaches its apex with issue #23, dig into the Robotech archives with Robotech Archives: The Sentinels Vol. 1. Life is Strange’s second arc will close with issue #8, and the Watch Dogs miniseries also concludes, with issue #2.
But it’s not all about endings. The new series Lenore kicks off on August 8th. Creator Roman Dirge brings his gruesome goth girl, the world’s cutest cadaver, back for more. This new adventure finds Lenore trapped by a fearsome hat-pickle (no, folks, not Pickle Rick), and she’s running out of time. And she’s also hungry.
There will also be a plethora of new magazines perfect for beach reading, with new issues of Star Trek Magazine and Star Wars Insider. Titan Comics also celebrates the July 19th release of the live action version of Disney’s The Lion King with their own Official Movie Special. And Titan also has your back-to-school reading list ready with advance solicits of four new hardcovers and trades for September including Snowpiercer: Extinction (covered in depth in our April PUBWATCH) and Star Trek: Picard — The Classic Chronicles (just in time for the new CBS All Access series later this year).
My Hero Academia Figures Debuting October 2019
Right in time for the launch of the show’s fourth season, Titan Merchandise will launch their first wave of My Hero Academia 3″ kawaii figures. Available in the US, the UK, and Europe, the release includes characters like Deku, Tomura Shigaraki, Himiko Toga, and many more. Fans have waited many years for these figures, and from the looks of things, they will not disappoint!
Tank Girl Sale!
Gamer bundle site Fanatical currently has a sale on Tank Girl comics. You can purchase forty-one digital comics, valued at nearly $185, for only $14.99! Other tiers are also available. The top tier includes the first arc of Tank Girl: Action Alley (reviewed in several installments of PUBWATCH), so it’s a great way to dive headfirst into this contemporary British classic for virtually the cost of a trade paperback.
Follow Titan on Twitter
If you’re not following Titan Comics on Twitter, check them out @comicstitan. In addition to information about their current and upcoming books, they frequently share behind-the-scenes looks from their creators, interviews related to licensed properties, and information on sales of their titles. (The Fanatical Tank Girl sale mentioned above came direct from their Twitter feed!)
What I’m Reading
For this installment’s reviews, we revisit Life is Strange and look at Titan Comics’ two Free Comic Book Day 2019 offerings.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor, Free Comic Book Day 2019
Tracy Bailey (colorist), Valeria Favoccia (artist), Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), Sarah Jacobs (letterer), Comicraft’s John Roshell (letterer), Giorgia Sposito (artist)
May 4, 2019 (print)
The TARDIS decides everyone needs a holiday, so it’s off to Space Disneyland for some fun. But Graham gets himself into trouble when he loses at a game of chance that exiles losers to a prize pool. Anyone who knows anything about carnival games know that they are always rigged, so it’s very hard for anyone to win. Graham promises he has a friend who can get him and all who fell victim to the game out of their predicament, and naturally, the Doctor delivers.
With this self-contained story, Houser succeeds at what a Free Comic Book Day title should do: introduce fans and get them to want more. While nothing ties this to the ongoing storyline, it subtly calls new fans to start at the series from the beginning. Conveniently, Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Vol. 1 dropped a few days later. Experienced Who comics readers may smile at the choice of setting. It’s not the first time the Doctor has had shenanigans at an amusement park: the Eleventh Doctor and Alice had adventures on a pleasure planet that proved anything but in Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2. The script itself has its scary moments but not too scary for the kids, and a few pop culture references to keep the adults’ attention.
The artists on the book are not new to the series. Giorgia Sposito shows the most success in getting the right look for Jodie Whittaker. She avoids overusing shading for contouring and details facial work for variety in emotion. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best artwork of the series yet. Coupled with confident body language, you know exactly who this Doctor is and you feel safe with her. The rest of the linework and colors suggest bold fun and holiday adventure, matching the exact tone of the script. Even Graham’s moment in the prize pool isn’t as frightening as you would imagine it to be.
Doctor Who’s television legacy is a family-friendly one, and this comic does well in continuing that legacy and introducing those who know Jodie Whittaker from TV to a new suite of adventures.
Robotech, Free Comic Book Day 2019
Jim Campbell (letterer), Brenden Fletcher (writer), Simon Furman (writer), Marco Lesko (colorist), Hendry Prasetya (artist), Sarah Stone (artist)
May 4, 2019 (print)
Some Free Comic Book Day titles present a one-shot story, while others take the opportunity to tie their offering to a particular storyline. This Robotech comic does the latter, bridging the current series run and introducing the newest arc, “Event Horizon.” Zor’s battlefortress, having traveled through time to the past, crash lands on Macross Island on Earth, seemingly resetting events in a past timeline. We then jump forward to a decade later with celebrations of the end of the “struggle for Earth,” the first Robotech war. First Officer Lisa Hayes is called away by her father to find out that there was more than one crash that day: a splashdown of a life support pod had a woman inside in stasis. They don’t know why she was saved, but they know they will need her.
This title is definitely designed for those following the existing Robotech series. The prologue information does prove helpful in establishing the larger universe and providing context, but for someone new to the world like I am, it’s not enough. I do love the finely detailed artwork from Hendry Prasetya, particularly in settings where the battlefortress craft is traveling above Earth. The linework is simple, though still providing enough detail to render things like buildings and controls on a spaceship with fine distinction. The overall look is slick computer animation straight from Crunchyroll or Cartoon Network.
The backup story “Curtain Call” shows the lighter side of Robotech. Singer Lynn Minmei is the center of this story, starting at a concert in tribute to her songs and memory. But just like The Princess Bride, it seems Minmei is only mostly dead. I’m intrigued to see just how she’s back from the dead, but at only two pages, not intrigued enough to pay for the comics just for this story.
There’s no doubt this is a well-crafted story that will kick up the Robotech comic a notch or two with this big event. It’s just not the place for new fans to jump on easily.
Life Is Strange #5
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Andrea Izzo (colorist), Claudia Leonardi (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Emma Vieceli (writer),
May 29, 2019 (print and digital)
We’re now in a new timeline on the west coast in 2016 with both Chloe and Rachel alive and everyone settled in new routines. Max is a freelance writer, Chloe has a job as an auto mechanic, and Rachel is an aspiring actress. The friends all happily live together, though Max struggles with the knowledge of her past realities and her love for Chloe. When Rachel gets a long-distance acting break, is this Max’s chance? And what’s with the goth boy on the beach Max keeps seeing?
Vieceli’s summary at the start of the book does a great job catching up all fans. And she continues to hit the bullseye with her characterizations of Max and Chloe. It may be a new reality, but they’re still the same women they were in Seattle. At the same time, I do hope we see just how this new setting changes them. We also don’t really get to know Rachel well here before she’s due to run off to the East Coast. With a now very much alive Rachel, it would be a missed opportunity not to learn more. But what most intrigues me is Goth Boy. Is he Max’s guardian angel? Someone from another reality? A manifestation of her longing for Chloe?
Like Vieceli, Claudia Leonardi hits the bull’s-eye with her artwork, giving our three principals youth and maturity in equal measure. Her smiles and body posture in Max show a woman confident and comfortable in what is an unfamiliar world to her. Her level of detail on Goth Boy in his haggard face and wild hair emphasize just how much he is out of place here, a sentiment reinforced by Andrea Izzo’s energetic, vivid colors. And a variety of page layouts and panel styles—from close-ups to wide establishing shots—call back to some of the best design of the original video game.
The mysteries of love and the mysteries of reality continue to confront young Max. The laid-back SoCal lifestyle will be anything but that for her.